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House panel on global warming to meet on N.H. mountaintop

WASHINGTON -- The global warming debate in Congress will be moving to the summit of a New Hampshire mountain next month.

Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, announced yesterday that he will hold a panel meeting atop Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch on June 4. He said the hearing will focus on global warming's impact on New England.

"As a New Englander, I am acutely aware of some of the adverse impacts we are already seeing in places like New Hampshire as global warming pollution heats up our climate," Markey said. "I think it is important for the members of this new committee to get out of Washington, D.C., where concern about this issue has lagged, and engage directly with businesses, government and concerned citizens at the local level."

The hearing will take place in a lodge as well as on the mountaintop. It will include testimony on the impact of climate change on tourism, recreation, and agriculture.

Markey said he selected New Hampshire in part because of the grass-roots movement earlier this year at town meetings to fight global warming. Some 164 towns passed resolutions calling for a national program reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Cannon Mountain, elevation 4,100 feet, is in the White Mountain range and was home to the Old Man of the Mountain formation, which collapsed four years ago.

"On the summit . . . we will have a spectacular view of a state that is concerned about its tourist industry, a shorter ski season, changing foliage, and intense weather events which presage serious economic consequences if we don't act," Markey said. The committee has not announced when the hearing will start nor who will testify.

Roger Stephenson , director of external affairs for Clean Air-Cool Planet, a regional advocacy group working on global warming issues, yesterday applauded Markey's move. New Hampshir ites will want to describe how global warming has affected their lives, he said.

"When people talk about snowfall versus rainfall, warmer temperatures, a diminished fall foliage, those are all natural impacts," he said. "People are now connecting the dots between those natural impacts and what makes New Hampshire the state it is."

John Donnelly can be reached at